It’s strange, as I sit outside and listened to my favorite Sunday morning music (black gospel), I am so open-ended about the structure of my faith. I’m not conflicted or disturbed, I’m just interested in the anomalies of it all. I have profound faith. I’ve written about it before here. But of what is that faith comprised?
I was raised in a fundamentalist church that was quite narrow in its vision. Yet my parents were very open-minded. Neither ended their life being quite traditional in their beliefs but both were grounded firmly in Christianity. Gently they would hint about that area of my life but they were clearly accepting of me. My beliefs had branched out beyond their reach.
I have studied Buddhism* as a dilettante. Admittedly all of my study falls in that category. I am a seeker of knowledge but snag onto ideas and concepts, flesh them out with my own beliefs, and thus form new ones. Ask me about the details of any religion and I can give you snippets but not many details. I am struck by the fact after some study, however, that Islam, Christianity, Judaism and probably many more faiths were founded on the same principles and even arose at the same place and time historically. Unable to fit within any dogma I am left having many choices.
In the Baha’i faith I admire peace-seeking and inclusiveness. Hinduism and Buddhism seek enlightenment for which we all can strive. I can truly embrace Judaism and its belief in right actions. Christianity and Islam both seek an exclusivity and a focus on sin, hell, and damnation that is a little punitive for my belief in the divine. Maybe Theosophy is the closest in concept to my heart.
I can’t really live with ritual, although tradition is important to me. I suppose I can be happy with my version of church – to hear music amid the bird songs, feel the sun on my face, and know for certain there is a higher power that I refer to most of the time as God (Goddess).
*Buddhism is not really a God-based study
I took to stdying comparitive religion after I retired from work and have not regretted it. I despair that there is so much good in all of them but, humans are bent on corrupting the teachings to prove brownie points.
The barriers to compassion are heartbreaking. I heard a Christian teacher say that Christ was not a Christian, the Buddha was not a Buddhist, and Mohammed was not a Muslim. So true. All the effort to put spin on truth has prevented much love and understanding.